boy playing soccer
Health Policy, In the News, Research Findings , , , , , , ,

Kids play sports…and get fat?

It seems counterintuitive, until you read a few articles on the subject: a recent study by the University of Minnesota found that kids who play sports–organized team sports, which you’d think would get them more exercise–tend to eat more junk food and actually, maybe, be at increased risk of obesity.

“These studies reported that youth involved in sport were more likely to consume fruits, vegetables, and milk, and also more likely to eat fast food and drink sugar-sweetened beverages and consume more calories overall.”

The Chicago Tribune wrote about this study last month, worrying about sponsorships of children’s sports leagues by soft drink manufacturers (there are plenty of examples online, including this one a Louisiana TV station reports on). And the health communications group “Reporting on Health” went on a very constructive, informative rant about how easy it is to find images showing corporate soft-drink sponsorship of children’s sports.

So the upshot is…even though obesity is often exacerbated by inactivity, and all this time we’ve been thinking kids gain weight when they sit at home and play video games, it may well be that getting involved in sports teams is as harmful as it would be helpful.  Who knew that could be the case?